VSM Theory is a new imprint created by Keith Berry, whose interest at the moment seems to lie in generative process-derived works retaining the principal qualities of today’s finest incidental soundscapes.
He even tags Viable Systems 1 with the definition “furniture music” as a sort of homage to the genre’s precursors. However, it’s not so easy when the Londoner is involved. If anything, I’d call these tracks a caressing acoustic complement across variable weather conditions.
Indeed this writer approached the collection during a melancholy-inspiring warm afternoon, then kept the experience going in a subsequent morning where an abrupt turn for the worse occurred – damp coldness, grey sky, rain.
In between these meteorological issues Berry’s sweetly resonating matters never failed to assist, allowing a listener’s intuition to comprehend the basic fragments of melody defining a given piece as the underlying harmony shifts with the deliberate massiveness of a formation of clouds.
It is all very assuaging, an aural charm characterized by the same transcendental dignity of a person still trying to smile after having been subjected to a heartbreaking loss.
Factors of recurrence and disappearance are essential. The “picture of now” is visible but somewhat flickering; the “then” inevitably returns with customary “when did I choose the wrong direction?” flashes.
Those, too, are destined to vanish; in a few minutes, another combination enters the scene and you’re left to other kinds of consideration.
In vaguely comparative terms, echoes of Eno, Roedelius and even Tim Story may be recalled at times. This notwithstanding, it only takes a couple of spins to realize that this is quintessential Berry.
I have always liked the title of an old album by Henry Kaiser and Jim O’Rourke, Tomorrow Knows Where You Live. Somehow, this music helps preparing that threatening visit, implicitly suggesting to welcome that tomorrow with a cup of hot tea in the hand, ready for an eye-to-eye silence.
For silence is what informs the purest form of love.